George L. Mehaffy

George L. Mehaffy Portrait

George L. Mehaffy serves as a senior advisor at Sova Solutions. Prior to joining the Sova team, he served for 20 years as the Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in Washington, D.C., a higher education association representing 400 public colleges and universities and their 3.2 million students. He was responsible for developing and managing programs for member institutions in areas such as leadership development, undergraduate education, technology, international education, teacher education and student success. Each year his division organized a number of national conferences and meetings, including two conferences each year for AASCU chief academic officers, as well as a civic engagement national conference. He has managed a number of innovative projects, including programs in China, a technology transformation conference with EDUCAUSE and the University of Central Florida; a transfer/articulation project with AACC and community colleges; two major national studies of student success, and a number of other national initiatives. In 2003, he launched the American Democracy Project, a civic engagement initiative. Most recently, he created a series of national projects around student success, with more than $ 13 million in external funding. Before coming to AASCU, he had more than twenty years of teaching and administrative experience in higher education in Texas, New Mexico, and California. In addition, he served for 33 years in the United States Coast Guard Reserve, retiring as a Captain in 2000.

Ashley Finley

Ashley Finley Photo

Ashley Finley is the Senior Advisor to the President and Vice President of Strategic Planning and Partnerships for the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). She was previously the senior director of assessment and research at AAC&U and also national evaluator for the Bringing Theory to Practice Project. Most recently she served as the associate vice president for academic affairs & dean of the Dominican Experience at Dominican University of California, where she implemented a comprehensive framework for student learning and success centered around high-impact practices, including holistic advising and ePortfolios.

Dr. Finley’s research and campus consultations focus on connecting best practices for program implementation, assessment design, and equity with institutional outcomes for student success and strategic planning. A significant component of this work at the campus and national levels has focused on the connection of students’ personal development (such as resilience, belonging, identity, and sense of purpose) with their learning and civic engagement. She has published a number of articles, book chapters, and monographs, including Assessing Underserved Students’ Engagement in High-impact Practices (with co-author Tia McNair), Civic Learning and Teaching; Assessing Underserved Students’ Engagement in High-Impact Practices; and “Well-Being: An Essential Outcome for Higher Education.” Prior to beginning her national work, Dr. Finley was a faculty member in the department of sociology at Dickinson College. She received a BA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MA and PhD, both in sociology, from the University of Iowa.


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Friday, February 14th
9:30 AM

Are We Still Bowling Alone? Lessons from the American Democracy Project

George Mehaffy, Sova Solutions

USC Ballrooms

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

2:00 PM

Civic Engagement at Scale: Quality, Equity, and Accountability

Ashley Finley, AAC&U

USC Ballrooms

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM